It is very hard for me to take real pride in anything I do. So hard in fact that I've stopped even aiming for it. For the most part I just try to focus on not embarrassing myself. If I can walk away from something feeling like I didn't make a fool of myself- that's a big win in my book. The most frustrating aspect of this frame of mind is that with art, the degree in which success or failure is measured is entirely subjective. One man's creative revelation is another man's dismissal. One man's "12 Years A Slave" is another man's "Scary Movie 5" and vice versa. Neither of the distending opinions is definitively wrong. One can't even really measure quality in technical prowess because in the case of something like punk music or an independent film, the lack of ability is part of the rebellion, part of experience. One might look at the poems of a prison inmate and find more beauty in them than that of a Cambridge scholar. Obviously this isn't new information for anyone. My point is really just to illustrate the frustration of chasing an uncatchable element. I know it's impossible to please everyone, but if I can manage to avoid looking like an idiot that would be awesome. So then why do I subject myself to so many situations where I run the risk (even a slim one) of looking idiotic? The reason is because I believe in what I'm doing. I believe in my mission and the messages I give away to anyone who might pass them. To me, embarrassing myself with a possible grammar or spelling error (which, when it happens, feels like showing up to class with my pants around my ankles), a poorly pasted poster, or getting dissed by someone who doesn't like what I do- it's all stuff I've considered, battled and ultimately found less terrifying than the idea of someone who needed- really NEEDED- to read something they can relate to and find solace in it. I'm not trying to say that what I do is on par with a doctor saving lives, but am I willing to be the occasional butt of someone's joke in exchange? Sure.
This poster I put up was quickly covered by a smaller poster that just read "FAIL!". Could they have been trying to interact with the poster's sentiment? Maybe, but highly doubtful as obscuring my statement isn't making an addition to it, it's just disrespecting it. Okay- I'll take the hit, sure. But at least I can sleep at night knowing that of the two of us, I made that poster, printed that poster, pasted that poster with the intention to reach out to those of us who have felt these words ripple through our hearts and give them the relief of knowing they are not alone. The person who conceived, printed and pasted FAIL! was basically just hoping to give me the proverbial middle finger. Knowing that makes me feel better. Because I don't HAVE to feel stupid, or naive or idealistic just because that guy wants me to. I can just laugh and pity their meager goal of trying to assert some kind of sad "street dominance". Quality of artistic expression may be subjective but quality of intention is not. And in a comparison between the two of us, I can feel good knowing that this guy is the one that looks stupid.
Perhaps a more elegant expression of all that could be the following...
I'm rubber, you're glue, so there.
Yeah, that works.